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A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad

Answering Thirty Key Questions

series: Introducing Islam

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What is so unique about Muhammad? What are the reasons for the strong devotion Muslims have for him? Did he really exist? What do Muslims say about him and his teaching? Did he perform miracles? What did he say about loving one's neighbor and about those who abandon Islam? Did he teach on homosexuality and owning slaves? These are some of the thirty questions answered in this clear and concise guide to Muhammad's life and religious significance.

This companion volume to Ayman Ibrahim's A Concise Guide to the Quran answers many of the key questions non-Muslims have about Muhammad, reveals the importance of Muhammad for Christian-Muslim and Jewish-Muslim interfaith relations, examines Muslim and non-Muslim primary sources, and engages classic and modern studies on the most important human figure for scores of Muslims. This introductory guide is written for anyone with little to no knowledge of Islam who wants to learn about Muslims, their beliefs, and their prophet.


Chronological Events in Muhammad's Life
Introduction: Why Should One Learn about Muhammad's Life?
Part 1: Muhammad's History
1. Who Was Muhammad?
2. What Are the Major Muslim Sources for Muhammad's Life?
3. What Do Scholars Say about the Reliability and Accuracy of Early Muslim Sources?
4. What Is So Unique about Muhammad's Birth Year?
5. What Is Significant about Muhammad's Genealogy?
6. What Do Muslims Believe about Muhammad's Attributes?
7. Was Muhammad a Real Historical Figure?
8. What Do We Know about Mecca, Muhammad's Birthplace?
9. What Is the Black Stone in the Ka'ba?
10. What Do We Know about Muhammad's Wives and Their Roles in Islam?
11. Was Muhammad Always a Monotheist?
12. What Is Muhammad's Night Journey to Jerusalem and Heaven?
13. Why Did Muhammad Strike a Peace Treaty with the Jews?
14. Why Did Muhammad Raid the Pagans of Mecca?
15. Was There Ever a Truce between Muslims and Meccans?
16. Did Muhammad Really Fight the Jews?
17. Did Muhammad Launch Raids against Christians?
18. Who Killed Muhammad?
19. Did Muhammad Appoint a Successor?
20. What Are Some of the Early Non-Muslim Views on Muhammad?
Part 2: Muhammad's Message
21. What Was Muhammad's Central Message?
22. Who Is Muhammad's Deity, Allah?
23. What Is Muhammad's Message about Jesus?
24. Where Is Muhammad Mentioned in the Bible?
25. Where Are Muhammad's Sermons?
26. What Did Muhammad Say about Loving One's Neighbors?
27. How Does Muhammad's Tradition Treat Apostasy from Islam?
28. What Do the Hadiths Say about Jihad?
29. Who Are the Hadith-Rejecters
among Muslims?
30. Why Are the Hadith-Rejecters
Growing in Number?
Appendix A: Muslim Primary Sources in English
Appendix B: Helpful Websites on Islamic Primary Sources


"Ibrahim has done us all a great favor in writing this book. With his expertise in early Islamic texts firmly established, he presents findings that help to sketch what Muhammad represents within the Muslim community--in all its diversity--and what the earliest sources actually say. As a historian, he points readers to invaluable resources in print and online."

David L. Johnston, lecturer of Islamic studies, St. Joseph's University and Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Muslims and Christians Debate Justice and Love

"This wonderful introduction to the life and teachings of Muhammad is rigorous in its engagement with scholarship yet also highly accessible. Ibrahim tackles crucial questions with clarity and purpose, skillfully helping the reader to navigate the 'Muhammads' of legend, of tradition, and of history. I heartily commend this book."

Derek Brotherson, principal, Sydney Missionary and Bible College; author of Contextualization or Syncretism?

The Author

  1. Ayman S. Ibrahim

    Ayman S. Ibrahim

    Ayman S. Ibrahim (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary; PhD, Haifa University) is Bill and Connie Jenkins Professor of Islamic Studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in...

    Continue reading about Ayman S. Ibrahim


"To understand Islam . . . it is necessary to reckon with Muhammad. Helping readers do that is the goal of A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad. . . . [Ibrahim] strives to present a historically accurate portrait of what can be known about Muhammad's life and teaching. . . . Ibrahim rounds out his book with a bibliography of English translations of Muslim primary sources, helpful websites regarding Islam, and a glossary of key terms. These appendixes are especially helpful to readers who want to conduct further research on Muhammad and his religion. Although Ibrahim wrote A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad for a general audience, I read and am reviewing it as a Christian minister. It broadened and deepened my understanding of the founder of Islam, along the way heightening the differences that exist between his religion and my own. . . . I recommend Ibrahim's book to missionaries, evangelists, pastors, and laity with a heart for Muslim evangelism. Christians cannot share the gospel with people whom they do not understand, so if we want to reach out to Muslims, we must reckon with Muhammad."

George P. Wood,

Influence Magazine